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Predicting Penn State Football’s 2022 Kickoff Times

Earlier this month, we learned that Penn State football’s season opener against Purdue was moved up to Thursday, September 1. With that, the Nittany Lions’ schedule finally appears set for the upcoming season, and there’s plenty of intriguing matchups on the slate.

As always, we’re left wondering exactly when each of Penn State’s 12 games will kick off. While the only lock appears to be a night game against Purdue, no other start times have been announced yet. So, we took it upon ourselves to predict each kickoff time.

September 1 @ Purdue: Prime Time

Are you ready for some Thursday night football?

When the Nittany Lions and Boilermakers kick off on September 1, it’ll be the first time Penn State plays a non-Saturday game since its Friday night matchup against Maryland in 2019 that saw James Franklin’s team win 59-0.

The “prime time” label makes sense here, especially considering Purdue is coming off a 9-4 season with a TransPerfect Music City Bowl under its belt. The Boilermakers could very well be favored in this game against a Penn State team that is coming off its second consecutive disappointing season.

September 10 vs. Ohio: 3:30 p.m.

This will be the second straight home opener that sees the Nittany Lions square off against a MAC opponent. This past season’s game against Ball State had a 3:30 p.m. start, and we’re expecting the same this time around against Ohio.

If this game were toward the middle of the season, we could see this being a noon game. Given that it’s the home opener, we think a 3:30 p.m. start is more likely.

The Bobcats are coming off of a brutal 3-9 season. Prior to last season, they went 12 straight seasons with a .500 record or better, so if history’s any indication, the squad figures to improve.

September 17 @ Auburn: Prime Time

This is the one everyone’s waiting for.

After hosting Auburn at Beaver Stadium this past fall for a White Out game, Penn State will head down south for another date with the Tigers in the third week of the season. This game has “prime time” written all over it, especially considering the tight 28-20 game the two teams played back in September.

Additionally, this will be Penn State’s first-ever trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on the Tigers. That, mixed with the magnitude of a Big Ten-SEC matchup, should propel this game under the lights with a 7:30 p.m. start.

September 24 vs. Central Michigan: Noon

This is a game toward the middle of the season against a MAC opponent. That screams “noon game.”

Central Michigan, to its credit, is coming off of a 9-4 season in 2021 and reached its highest win total since 2009. Still, it’s hard to think that Penn State will avoid another noon start against a MAC team. It’s much more likely that Penn State’s home opener against Ohio will get the ideal 3:30 p.m. start.

Get ready to wake up and head over to the tailgating lots early on September 24, Nittany Nation.

October 1 vs. Northwestern: Noon

To the dismay of many, back-to-back home noon games could very well be in the cards. Penn State’s last three games against Northwestern have all had noon starts, and we expect the same this upcoming season.

The Wildcats are coming off a 3-9 2021 campaign, so expectations won’t be high for them or for this game, for that matter.

October 15 @ Michigan: Noon

Don’t be fooled by the projected noon start. This game is huge.

Penn State’s games against Michigan always have a little extra flare to them. With Michigan coming off an improbable run to the College Football Playoff, that’s even more true now. That’s why a slot on “FOX B1G Noon Kickoff” makes all the sense in the world.

With its only true test prior to this game (on paper) being a trip to Iowa City, Michigan could very well be undefeated when October 15 rolls around. The Nittany Lions may not be undefeated, but they should come in with a good record at the very least. See you soon, Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt.

October 22 vs. Minnesota: 3:30 p.m.

After three consecutive noon games, a nice 3:30 p.m. start will be a breath of fresh air for Penn State fans. If our completely accurate predictions prove to be true, there’s no way the schedule makers would give Penn State four straight noon games, right?

Coming off a 9-4 season, Minnesota should present the Nittany Lions with quite the challenge. If everything goes according to plan for James Franklin’s squad, Penn State should be much improved, which could make for a gritty, competitive midseason Big Ten football game.

Last time these two teams faced off, the Golden Gophers shocked the Nittany Lions and gave them their first loss of the season in 2019. Potential for a “revenge” game? We’ll see.

October 29 vs. Ohio State: Prime Time

If this isn’t a 7:30 p.m. start on ABC, we’ll have some problems.

For what should almost certainly be the White Out, this matchup deserves the biggest stage possible. That could mean a visit from College GameDay, too. It shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to get Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and the gang to come to Happy Valley, as we know how much they love the White Out.

Ohio State has been a staple as one of the best teams in the country, and it doesn’t seem like that’s changing anytime soon. So, it’s up to the Nittany Lions to play well enough prior to this game to ensure a prime-time matchup is secured.

November 5 @ Indiana: 3:30 p.m.

After Penn State’s 2021 game against Indiana was surprisingly slated for a prime-time kickoff on ABC, we’re expecting a bit of a step back this time around. Indiana was a really bad football team last season with a 2-10 record, so a prime-time start seems far fetched.

In that game last season, the Nittany Lions shut out Indiana 24-0 and avenged their gut-wrenching opening-day loss from the prior season. This time around, Penn State will presumably be a heavy favorite barring a massive improvement from the Hoosiers.

November 12 vs. Maryland: 3:30 p.m.

Penn State and Maryland’s last two matchups have had 3:30 p.m. starts, and it makes the most sense again this year.

While the Nittany Lions beat the Terps 31-14 last season, both teams finished with a 7-6 record, meaning they were, on paper, not too far apart in terms of overall skill. Who knows if that’ll prove true next season, but Maryland, at the very least, shouldn’t be a complete pushover.

This could have the potential for an exciting afternoon kickoff in Happy Valley.

November 19 @ Rutgers: Noon

Rutgers may not be a complete joke anymore, but it’s still Rutgers. A noon kickoff on BTN sounds just right for this one.

November 26 vs. Michigan State: 3:30 p.m.

Speaking of exciting afternoon kickoffs, here’s another game that could very well live up to that label. With the illustrious Land-Grant Trophy on the line, the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

Three of the last four games between the two squads have started at 3:30 p.m., so another one would make sense

On a snowy afternoon in East Lansing in the 2021 regular-season finale, Sparty edged out Penn State 30-27. After losing the precious trophy, the Nittany Lions will try to recapture the beauty to close out their 2022 regular season.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is suddenly Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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